Artificial Intelligence

To Protect Stock Values, Don't Hand the Recruiting Reins to AI

By Matt Massucci, founder and CEO, Hirewell

As business leaders keep their eyes out for signs of a possible recession, many are looking for ways to trim costs if need be. Given the sudden explosion in interest surrounding generative AI, it’s no surprise that these leaders are considering which tasks they might be able to hand over to new technologies. This raises important questions around recruiting.

For the sake of all stakeholders in a business, including shareholders, it’s crucial to tread carefully in this arena. While there is a role for AI in recruiting, it would be a terrible idea to trust bots to discover and try to attract the best people for any given job. Top candidates would fall through, performance would fall, and stock values would plummet.

The businesses that do best will be those that understand which recruiting tasks must remain in human hands. In looking for strong bets in the market, investors should seek out organizations that strategize appropriately.

Prioritizing the candidate experience

The fight for talent is still very active amid what CNBC calls a “resilient labor market.” And even when layoffs take place, recruiting can, ironically, become tougher. People who keep their jobs become more likely to leave voluntarily -- and companies suddenly have to fill those posts.

AI can go a long way in sifting through resumes and searching candidate profiles on various databases to find people with certain skills and experience. Generative AI can also help create questions to ask potential candidates and read through large numbers of written responses to look for key points.

But excellent workers won’t go to a company that fails to connect with them on a human level. Businesses must make sure nothing gets in the way of an excellent candidate experience.

As a study from Florida State University and Boise State University put it, “Generally, hiring is the most important thing organizations do, and to hire effectively, it is necessary to recruit effectively.” The researchers pointed out that it’s up to “astute” recruiters to “sell” the organization, increasing applicant attraction. These recruiters leverage and make an organization’s reputation “salient,” the study said.

Early on in the hiring process, potential candidates want to discuss possibilities with people who will get to know them, understand their uniqueness, and be able to explain clearly why the company might be a great fit for them. They want phone calls, video chats, and quick replies to messages that are, and feel, authentic.

They also need accurate information at all times -- about the organization, the role they might want to apply for, and more. Unfortunately, AI can “hallucinate,” providing false information. So giving AI tools a major role in recruiting runs the risk of losing the best, most discerning workers.

Key recruiting skills 2023

“Recruiting professionals have never been able to make a bigger impact than right now,” says Brett Baumoel, Microsoft’s vice president of global talent acquisition, engineering, in the LinkedIn report The Future of Recruiting 2023.

The most important skills recruiters will need in the future include communication, relationship building, adaptability, problem solving and business acumen, the report says. Artificial intelligence is nowhere near delivering these skills in the way humans can.

In considering where to invest, look into which companies are excelling at the human side of recruiting, and delivering an excellent candidate experience. In earnings calls and other communications with executives and investor relations representatives, ask about how many offers have been made and turned down, and why.

Also, ask for metrics including employee engagement, turnover, and customer satisfaction. Research shows that all of these are affected by the candidate experience. The better the hiring process, the stronger the workforce.

There's a lot of uncertainty in the markets and the economy at large. But this much is certain: Excellent human skills in recruiting talent are, and will remain, essential for every business. Only by prioritizing this core strength will organizations build the workforce of the future, and deliver stockholders strong returns.

-Matt Massucci is founder and CEO of Hirewell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.